LOOKS BRIGHT: Adventure in Ecuador

Published 11:45 pm Friday, August 22, 2014

By Monique Roth

LAPLACE — While his peers were taking final exams in May at St. Charles Catholic High School, Ross Browning had already wrapped up his freshman year and was on his way to Ecuador.

The journey doubled as his first trip out of the country and his first mission trip.

Browning traveled with some of his family and joined with a team from First Wesleyan Church in Tuscaloosa, Ala., to spend a week doing work in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Browning and the rest of the team worked on the construction of the second floor of the Church of El Fortine, where they disassembled the roof, carried buckets of water and mud up to the second floor, mixed concrete and mortar by hand, made wooden forms and rebar forms to build columns, laid cinder blocks for the walls and helped to build the bamboo scaffolding.   

Everyday after working on the church, Browning said the group led a devotional time with church and town members. 

Browning, who was the youngest member of the traveling team, said he developed a strong connection with the rest of the group.

“I will always remember the time I spent helping in Ecuador and my connection with the missions’ team,” Browning said.

The thing he will remember the most about the trip is interacting with the kids in Ecuador.

“It feels good knowing that you helped other people who struggle,” Browning said.

He had no hesitation in saying “yes” when his parents told him he could go on the trip if he wanted to. He said he has every intention of returning to Ecuador next summer.

Browning is the son of Kurt and Karyn Kienitz of LaPlace. He has attended SCC since eighth grade and is a member of the soccer team. 

Browning, now a sophomore, maintains a 4.0 GPA.  

SCC Director of Instruction and Institutional Advancement Dr. Courtney Millet said an SCC education calls for the education of the whole person – mind, body and spirit – to serve others. She said Browning is committed to the total school program. 

“Students at St. Charles Catholic High School often come to realize the full extent of their capacity to transform the world through faith and service,” Millet said. “We are so proud of Ross’ work both here at SCC and in Ecuador.”

Millet said Browning earned a bronze award for service work during his freshmen year. Browning said he is shooting for a gold award this school year. 

Browning and his family attend St. Charles United Methodist Church in Destrehan, where he is an active youth group member and volunteers at the church’s vacation Bible school during the summer.

Other than schoolwork, volunteering and soccer, Browning stays busy as the bass player for local band “Remedy.”

SCC Administrative Assistant Rochelle Ory seemed to sum it up when Browning’s name was mentioned.

“He’s an exceptional kid,” she said with a smile.